Feelings. We know that writers depend upon their senses when evoking the right location, scene or character, but one that is rarely discussed is their sense of smell. For example, whenever I smell the scent of sweet orange essential oil, I feel immediately uplifted because it evokes happy memories of the childhood summers I spent riding my bicycle and slurping orange-flavored popsicles.
As a certified spiritual aromatherapist, I use essential oils nearly every day and I’ve found that aromatherapy helps me ground, get focused and feel more confident. My favorite writers’ block remedies are a few sprays of cinnamon, lemongrass, rose geranium, sweet orange or vetiver essential oils. (See “Make Your Own Writer’s Room Spray” below.)
Essential oils may be made from flower petals, roots, grasses, resins and gums. In perfumery, each essential oil is defined by its particular strength or note. There are base notes, middle notes and top notes.
Top notes tend to be fruity. They are the first scent you smell and the quickest to evaporate. Some examples are angelica seed, bergamot, cinnamon, lemon, lemongrass, orange, sage, spearmint and thyme.
Middle notes are floral or spicy, like chamomile, cinnamon, clove, frankincense, ginger, juniper, lavender, myrrh, rose absolute and ylang ylang.
Base notes are earthy fragrances. They include benzoin, cedarwood, clove, frankincense, ginger, jasmine, rose absolute, sandalwood, vanilla, vetiver and ylang ylang. Of these, benzoin, vanilla and vetiver are thick and gooey. Be careful when you are extracting them from their bottles so they don’t drip onto your workspace!
Make Your Own Writer’s Room Spray
Use an eye dropper to add up to 10 drops of your preferred essential oil or Writer formula into your spray bottle. Once the formula is in the bottle, pour distilled or spring water through a funnel until the liquid is about an inch from the top. Be sure to spray high in the air and avoid spraying on furniture or fabrics which might get stained. (Options: Use your Writer formula in an aromatherapy diffuser and light the candle. Or try a plug-in diffuser with changeable pads. I have several around the house and I bought them from Vitacost at www.vitacost.com .)
To create a well-balanced Writer blend, begin with approximately 20% of your selected base note, add 50% of the middle note and 30% of the top note. Because essential oils are too pure to use directly on the skin, a carrier oil like jojoba oil or sweet almond oil is used to dilute the essential oils. (Warning: do not use clove, juniper, myrrh or sage if you are a pregnant or lactating woman.) Be sure to store your Writer formulas in dark glass bottles, preferably in a cool area, away from the radiation of microwaves, televisions and computers.
Here are some simple Writer formulas to get you started:
CREATIVITY ~ benzoin (base note), myrrh (middle note), angelica seed (top note)
CONFIDENCE ~ ylang ylang (base note), chamomile (middle note), bergamot (top note)
Choose any essential oil, remove the cap from the bottle and take a whiff. Is the scent floral, fruity, spicy or earthy? What locale or experience does the scent remind you of? Does it inspire you to write a short story or poem? Record your observations. (Note: should you feel a little dizzy from the scent, sniff some fresh coffee beans to clear your senses.)
Eleyne-Mari has been a professional writer since 1980. She is a certified color therapist, spiritual aromatherapist, crystal worker, jewelry designer, events organizer, radio show host, radio show producer (Color Healing Radio and Within Radio) and the founder of Color Therapy Month in March.